Get Your Sleep On – Hotel Santa Margherita Palace (Santa Margherita di Ligure, Italy)

My husband and I stayed here at the Hotel Santa Margherita Palace for 3 nights during our honeymoon in October 2014 and were very pleased with our decision.

I half-jokingly submit that one of the best things about this hotel is its proximity to the train station. After a long day of travel, taking trains from Florence, switching in Pisa and praying that we got off at the right stop, we found ourselves bleary-eyed and travel-tired on the platform of Santa Margherita di Ligure station as we watched the double-decker train chug away into the dusk.  We argued about taking a cab or not, and I checked my iPhone map and realized that the hotel was literally down the street. Downhill. Double points for convenience!

Lobby lounge, as seen from the front desk/reception

The hotel staff were fantastic – especially Paola, who gave us so much information and really took care of us throughout our stay. There was another really helpful guy at the front desk – his name started with an R, and he also helped us plan our day trip to Portofino. Santa Margherita di Ligure was the perfect home base for us as we explored the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre. It had just enough going on to feel like a vibrant little town, without being so far away from the picturesque areas that you spent half the day traveling. The ferry is walking distance and you can take it to Portofino, San Fruttuoso and other coastal towns.

My husband surprised me and upgraded us to a honeymoon package which included Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – Winterose Portofino (Portofino, Italy)

A day in Portofino should never be complete without a visit to Winterose Portofino, a wine store and wine bar right on the edge of the marina, to sip champagne and fine Italian wines lazily at a little table or even sitting on the edge of the water, while you enjoy the Italian Riviera sunshine and rest your weary legs after a long day of shopping and being fabulous.
One of my absolute favorite things about Italy, and its wine bars and cafés in particular, is that when you order wine, it comes with a very nice plate of antipasti, gratis. In a world where nothing comes for free, it’s nice that this is still what I would say the “norm”.  So, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve sat and ordered your drinks until you order a small bite – a snack might already be on the way.

We found Winterose after I connected to some local WiFi and was looking for a wine bar with good ratings on TripAdvisor. Winterose had the highest rating of any, and was right on the water. We headed over faster than I could close the browser on my iPhone, and lucked out, finding two seats at a cafe table right in front.

After a brief panic attack wondering if I had just accidentally spent all of our wedding gift money by sitting at a wine bar in the Italian Riviera without looking at a menu, Continue reading